Knights fall 38-14
WHEELING — Cabell Midland’s dream of a Class AAA football state championship fell short Saturday afternoon as Martinsburg won its third straight title in a 38-14 victory over the Knights at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Early mistakes doomed Cabell Midland (13-1) as Martinsburg (13-1) jumped out to a 21-0 lead.
“These kids are upset and it’s hard because you expect to win no matter what you do and who you play, but they’ve got a good program,” Cabell Midland coach Luke Salmons said. “Hats off to their coaches and players.”
Cabell Midland’s tandem of David Gaydosz and Lowell Farley both eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark as the offense started to settle in following the big early deficit.
Gaydosz finished with 25 carries for 131 yards and two touchdowns while Farley ended the day with 120 yards on 17 carries.
Trailing by 21 early in the fourth quarter, the Knights attempted a pair of last-ditch comeback efforts with drives into Martinsburg territory.
However, each time Cabell Midland was forced to go to the air, the Bulldogs were there to snuff out the play.
The lack of a passing game hurt the Knights in their comeback efforts. Cabell Midland’s lone pass completion was by Gaydosz when he lined up in the Wildcat formation with Farley in the backfield.
Cabell Midland quarterback Coy Pettit was hounded constantly, mostly by Martinsburg’s Eugene German, and he finished 0-of-6 while being sacked three times.
“We missed some opportunities I felt like, and you can’t do that in a big game,” Salmons said.
Martinsburg did not have such trouble through the air early as quarterback Cookie Clinton connected with Ohio University-bound wide receiver Cedric Brown on a pair of first-quarter touchdowns to push the lead out quickly.
The first catch was a 7-yard quick screen in which Brown made a pair of defenders miss before he dove into the end zone.
His second came with the Knights in a blitz. Clinton threw the ball up off his back foot and trusted his senior wide receiver to make the play. Brown hauled the 30-yard pass in and walked into the end zone for the score.
The game’s pivotal play came on the Bulldogs’ third score.
Cabell Midland’s defense and Martinsburg penalties had forced a 2nd-and-23 with the Bulldogs backed up in their own red zone. It was a chance for the Knights to flip the field position, but instead, Trey Boyd raced 83 yards for a score to make it 21-0 and take the steam out of Cabell Midland. Boyd finished with 193 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.
“That was a huge play,” Martinsburg coach Dave Walker said. “I felt like if we got our kids out in space, they’d be alright. It was one of those cases where Trey was able to break loose and make some yardage.”
The Knights got on the board after Farley ripped off a 68-yard run to set up Gaydosz’ first touchdown run, but Martinsburg answered right back with a six-play, 80-yard drive capped by Boyd’s 4-yard plunge to make it 28-7 at the break.
Clinton, who also finished above the century mark with 102 yards, later added a touchdown run of his own.
Tyler DeHaven hit a 48-yard field goal to end Martinsburg’s scoring in the fourth quarter. The field goal was the longest in the state this season.
MARTINSBURG 14 14 7 3 — 38
CABELL MIDLAND 0 7 7 0 — 14
M — Brown 7 pass from Clinton (DeHaven kick)
M — Brown 30 pass from Clinton (DeHaven kick)
M — Boyd 83 run (DeHaven kick)
CM — Gaydosz 1 run (Molina kick)
M — Clinton 3 run (DeHaven kick)
CM — Gaydosz 1 run (Molina kick)
M — DeHaven 48 FG
Total yards 47-425 60-247
First downs 14 12
Rushes-yards 33-289 52-225
Comp-Att-Int 8-14-1 1-8-0
Passing yards 127 22
Penalties-Yds 10-101 7-53
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-0
RUSHING — Martinsburg: Boyd 17-193, Clinton 15-102, Awkard 2-3. Cabell Midland: Gaydosz 25-131, Farley 17-120; Thomas 5-13; Matthews 1-4.
PASSING — Martinsburg: Clinton 8-14-1, 127. Cabell Midland: Pettit 0-6, Gaydosz 1-2, 22.
RECEIVING — Martinsburg: Brown 4-74, Watkins 2-23; Skye 1-31; Boyd 1-(minus 2). Cabell Midland: Thomas 1-22.